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Dashboard Forums Prototyping How simple is too simple?

  • How simple is too simple?

     Emma Harrelson updated 1 year, 9 months ago 7 Members · 11 Posts
  • Emma Harrelson

    June 6, 2021 at 12:50 pm

    Hello! The prettiest thing about this prototype may be the Go board I put my scraps of paper on, but so far it works well enough for me to test my mechanics. At some point soon, I’ll want to get feedback from others, but I don’t want people to get hung up on the lack of art or lose interest. How “polished” do you like to make prototype games for others?

  • Edward Wedig

    June 6, 2021 at 6:48 pm

    I’ve been doing graphic design for rpgs and card games for about 20 years, so my prototypes tend to look a lot more polished early in their design. If you are worried about the way the game looks, using simple Word art, or icons from game icons or the noun project, will help your prototype look more clean.

    • Emma Harrelson

      June 7, 2021 at 3:08 pm

      That’s really great advice, thank you! Are there any free software options you have used that may get me started with a more digitally clean look? I hesitate to invest too much time and resources in one idea before getting feedback.

      • Edward Wedig

        June 7, 2021 at 7:37 pm

        MS Word or Excel (I think Microsoft offers a free version online) may work. Alternately, Google Docs or Sheets are pretty simple to use. For simple cards like the ones in your image, you could setup a square box (a Table with 1 cell) in Docs, and add an icon graphic and text. Once it’s done, export it as a jpg or pdf for printing.

      • Stephen Trounson

        June 7, 2021 at 8:01 pm

        Try the open source programs like Inkscape and Gimp for art, Libre Office for the word stuff and basic card layout and NanDeck for mass card layouts. All are free and easily available with many tutorials.

      • Ryan Lopez DeVinaspre

        June 7, 2021 at 11:34 pm

        I’m addition to the resources listed, I will add, which is arguably even better than the noun project, IF they have an icon you like. You can edit them for free, and there are a ton of options, from backgrounds, to badges, to sizes and colors. The Noun Project has infinitely more options to choose from, but to edit them costs $3 a piece or about $40 a year, I believe. It is a truly amazing resource, but I find it a little more overwhelming than game-icons as well, since there is simply so much to choose from and sift through. But sometimes they just have better options at the noun project. Either way, it’s good to keep both of those tabs open when you are looking for icons.

  • Marti S

    June 8, 2021 at 3:57 am

    Like others have siad I think open source is the best way. I am just putting together a “pretty” prototype myself this week, I have been using paper and so on until now for a few months but I am getting ready (hopefully) to playtest it with a wider group of people and while the core essence of any game is the fun and enjoyment and not the components, I personally want to make it look and feel nice to play, not perfect but nice.

    If I was to provide the art or hire an artist for the final product then I would use the pretty prototype to test out art ideas with different styles too. But this isn’t always necessary especially if you are planning on getting a publisher as the chances are they will have their own artists to do the art.

    Another thing I have found that as a designer, working with bits of paper and so on for months with a game, it is actually nice for me to hold something that looks much closer to a ‘final’ version.

    So I would say it is worth spending a bit of time but not too much, it is much more important to get it out their and tested and then when you are ready to be published worry about the fine art details.

  • Rob Harper

    June 8, 2021 at 4:17 am

    I’m a big fan of quick and ugly, and have put hand scribbled early prototypes in front of people on plenty of occasions.

    That said, over the last year, with an almost complete lack of in-person playtesting, I’ve been putting prototypes onto various virtual platforms, which means that even the first iterations tend to look pretty tidy, generally generated via nanDECK.

  • Emma Harrelson

    June 8, 2021 at 4:11 pm

    Thank you all for your suggestions and feedback!!

  • Mark Brandow

    June 8, 2021 at 5:30 pm

    I say start simple because most things will change. You can pretty it up later. My issue is always I want it to look professional from the get go, but you can waste a lot of time.
    I use gimp and component studio Component studio has a bit of a learning curve, but once you know it, it is easy to create and update cards. But it is 10.00!a month.

    • Emma Harrelson

      June 8, 2021 at 6:08 pm

      I actually just started playing around with GIMP. I’m certainly still learning how it works. I lost all my toolboxes on accident… it took me 20 minutes to restore my settings… but it looks like I can make something nice out of it! I’m excited to learn more.

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